Maine is looking to be the leader of the recreational marijuana industry because of the state’s success with medicinal marijuana according to the head of Maine’s biggest medical marijuana dispensary group on Wednesday. The CEO of the Wellness Connection of Maine, Patricia Rosi, claims that Main could benefit greatly by growing recreational marijuana and joining the fastest growing industry hitting approximately $11.1 billion this year.

Rosi talked about medical marijuana the legalization of it during the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Eggs & Issues event. Two of the groups, Legalize Maine as well as the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol are gathering signatures so that separate legalization referendum questions can be on the ballot in November of 2016. Both groups were required to make plans that would allow adults 21 and older to buy recreational marijuana.

Maine is one of 34 states that have some form of medical marijuana legalized. Maine legalized medical marijuana in 1999 and opened its first dispensary twelve years later in 2011. A year ago, Maine’s program was considered the best medical marijuana program in the country by Americans for Safe Access, a national group that calls for legal access to medicinal marijuana. Marijuana is still illegal by federal law, but Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., have all passed state laws legalizing recreational marijuana. A poll in 2015 by Critical Insights, a Portland market research firm, shows that 65% of Maine’s population support the legalization of marijuana. The poll also shows that if it were legalized, almost 80% of people believe it should be sold in licensed businesses.


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